You Can’t Vote At National Convention – APC Bars Political Appointees 

  • Buhari okays refund for aspirants stepping down 

BY VICTOR BUORO – It is no cheering news for political appointees in the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the ruling party has barred them from voting at its national convention holding on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

The party dropped the bombshell in a statement released to the media in Abuja on Thursday.

The statement titled; ‘Attention to political office holders who were elected as delegates’, said; “The National Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of APC has declared that all political appointees who were elected as delegates to the National Convention slated for 26/3/2022 SHALL NOT VOTE in view of the controversy surrounding Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act,2022.”

“However, political appointees can still attend as observers”, the statement said.

This is a fallout of the contentious clause 84(12) of the electoral act which stops all appointees to be voted for or to be delegates during conventions but already struck down by a Federal High Court in Umuahia declaring it Illegal.

Insiders hinted that the CECPC must have taken the decision in order to avoid court cases after the convention.

This is as the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 resolved to appeal the Court judgment nullifying the provision.

The Senate had earlier unanimously rejected Electoral Act Amendment Bill sent by the President Muhammadu Buhari requesting that the National Assembly amends Section 84(10) of the Act to allow political appointees contest and participate in the primaries without resigning.

Section 84(10) of the Act specifically reads, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

However, disillusioned by the controversial  provision, a lawyer and chieftain of the Action Alliance (AA), Mr Nduka Edede, approached the Federal High Court in Umuahia in a suit marked FHC/MU/SC/26/2022, with the Attorney General of the Federation as the defendant.

And in his judgment, Justice Evelyn Anyadike nullified Section 84(12) of the newly amended Electoral Act, saying it violated the provisions of the Constitution.

The Judge further described the section was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever,” saying it ought to have been struck out.

Step Down And Get Refund – Buhari 

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has given a directive to the All Progressives Congress (APC) CECPC to refund aspirants who bought forms and have stepped down for the party’s consensus arrangement.

Addressing a meeting of APC Governors and stakeholders convened to concretise their gentleman agreement on the choice of party leaders through a unity list, the President urged everyone to prioritise the party’s interest as not to jeopardise its chances come 2023.

The President admonished the governors thus; “Your Excellencies, I would like to express my gratitude to you all for the work you have done and are doing and your continued partnership and fortified alliances with the Federal Government over the years.

“When we came together to form the All Progressives Congress, nearly 8 years ago our goal was National Salvation, our resolve was unshakable, our motivation was patriotic and noble.

“Consequently, by the Grace of God we were rewarded with victory in the 2015 General Elections in a free and fair election.

“As I said at that meeting, our Party chose its leadership by consensus. I again plead that we choose our next leadership by consensus. This is consistent with the spirit of democracy, the Party’s Constitution and the Nigerian Constitution.”

Concerning his interest at the Convention, President Buhari said; “I have already given my own input and other recommendations on the way forward in both my 25th February, 2022 meeting with the Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee and my 13th March, 2022 letter to the Chairman of the APC Governors Forum.

“With the convention only two days away, I implore you to come together and sort out all the remaining party positions so that within the next 24 hours we can arrive at a Unity List which we can take to the convention.

“Finally, all those who have bought forms indicating interest and have been dropped should have their money refunded without delay.”

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